News > News > 12th Annual Riverkeeper Sweep is Saturday, May 6 – 120 shoreline cleanups, NYC to the Adirondacks

12th Annual Riverkeeper Sweep is Saturday, May 6 – 120 shoreline cleanups, NYC to the Adirondacks

Riverkeeper Sweep horizontal

View more images on our Flickr site

In Riverkeeper’s annual day of service for the Hudson, more than 1,400 volunteers will remove trash and foster healthy vegetation along the shorelines.

Contact: Leah Rae, [email protected], 914-715-6821

More than 1,400 volunteers are expected to turn out on May 6 for the 12th Annual Riverkeeper Sweep, a daylong effort to clean up shorelines throughout New York City and the Hudson Valley, from Staten Island to the Adirondack Mountains.

An interactive map of 120 project locations is available at Riverkeeper.org/sweep.

Riverkeeper organizes the annual event as a day of service to the Hudson River and its tributaries.

Dozens of schools, parks, religious communities, paddling groups and scout troops join in to lead individual projects. Most projects focus on removing trash from the shorelines. Others foster healthy vegetation in shoreline areas by planting trees and shrubs or by removing invasive plants.

Over 11 years, Sweep volunteers have removed a grand total of 324 tons of debris, including 1,810 tires, and planted or maintained thousands of trees and shrubs. Once-neglected spaces have gained year-round stewards.

The day’s activities extend from Oakwood Beach, Staten Island, all the way north to the hamlet of North Creek, in the Adirondack Mountains.

In Queens, one of the biggest cleanups happens along the Malcolm X Promenade at Flushing Bay. The Empire Dragons team up with Guardians of Flushing Bay, Coastal Preservation Network and the New York City Parks Department for the event, called Jennifer’s Annual Flushing Bay Shoreline Cleanup. In some locations, including Annsville Creek in Peekskill, the Lower Esopus Creek in Saugerties, and Sojourner Truth Park in New Paltz, volunteers paddle out to hard-to-reach places to recover trash.

Beyond the immediate results, Riverkeeper Sweep cleanups also serve to spotlight and document the pervasiveness of plastic pollution in the Hudson. The leaders of each project are asked to note the most common items of trash at each site. This year they will also note some of the company brands visible on items of trash. Volunteers at 10 of the 120 locations will count and classify the shoreline trash in detail, as part of an ongoing data collection effort.

In recent years, the single most commonly reported item of trash along the river is plastic bottles. Riverkeeper is advocating for an expansion of New York State’s successful bottle deposit program that would apply to more types of beverage containers. The Bigger Better Bottle Bill (A6353/S237) would also increase the deposit from 5 cents to 10 cents per bottle.

While the sources of plastic pollution are many, the Better Bottle Bill is one practical step to reduce pollution and ensure polluters are held responsible.

“Riverkeeper Sweep reminds us to work harder to find solutions to plastic pollution – limiting single-use products, improving recycling programs, holding companies accountable for how much plastic they generate, and holding ourselves accountable too,” said Katie Leung, Riverkeeper Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator.

“It’s just amazing to see what can happen in one day, with so many people dedicating their time to the river and leaving it visibly cleaner,” said Tracy Brown, President and Hudson Riverkeeper. “Riverkeeper Sweep is our biggest event of the year, thanks to more than 110 organizations, 1,400 individuals and numerous supporters and sponsors who are making it happen.”

Local businesses are also supporting the Sweep by hosting volunteers after the work is done: Participants will gather at 25 participating breweries and restaurants to celebrate their teamwork and enjoy a beverage on the house.

For more information visit Riverkeeper.org/sweep and follow #RiverkeeperSweep on social media.